Dubai

Farah Al Qasimi, Um Al Naar (Mother of Fire), 2019, HD video, color, sound, 42 minutes 7 seconds.

Farah Al Qasimi, Um Al Naar (Mother of Fire), 2019, HD video, color, sound, 42 minutes 7 seconds.

Farah Al Qasimi

The Third Line

The Persian Gulf is beginning to feel decidedly witchy, with artists and filmmakers in the region increasingly drawn to local folklore and superstitions, referencing cultural practices involving the supernatural and occult that were once common but are increasingly taboo, even sometimes outlawed. Channeling this zeitgeist, Farah Al Qasimi’s “Arrival” explored beliefs and rituals related to the jinn—divinely created beings in Islamic mythology, invisible entities widely feared for their ability to possess humans—in the United Arab Emirates.

The show’s centerpiece was the roughly forty-two-minute video Um Al Naar (Mother of Fire), 2019, a tongue-in-cheek portrait of a jinn hailing from Ras Al Khaimah, one of the smaller, less-developed northern emirates that was once an important regional power. The protagonist’s wonderfully primeval name references both myth and history, acknowledging at

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